For Christine Kuerschner, the fight against lung disease is very personal. Just recently, her mother Joan, a lifetime non-smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. “My mom never smoked, no-one in my family smoked, and she was never exposed to secondhand smoke to any great degree,” said Christine.
Christine first became involved with the American Lung Association in Wisconsin when she signed up to participate in the 2010 Fight For Air Climb. A marathon runner, Christine was looking for a new athletic challenge, but quickly became connected with the mission.
“It was such a shock when we found out my Mom has lung cancer,” says Christine, 29, who has two younger brothers. “We were always close, but we’ve really rallied around my Mom and we’re even closer now. We keep trying to stay positive and spend as much time together as we can.” Christine’s time also is spent raising awareness about lung cancer and funds for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin; this year, in addition to climbing, she serves on the planning committee for the Milwaukee Climb. “It’s now became more of a personal cause, and this year I am on the committee and have a team of co-workers doing the Climb,” she says. Her involvement is a source of great pride to her mother, who says, “I am so touched by what Christine is doing, trying to make a positive impact on the world.”
Joan, who has five siblings and many nieces and nephew, is determined to do all she can to fight the cancer and help her family. “My genetics counselor is sharing all of my information with my sister’s oncologist. We really hope we can learn something from it,” she says. “I’m lucky that we caught the cancer as early as we did, and I have a lot of confidence in my doctors. My decision is that I’m going to live and be there for my kids and my husband.”